A successful project to rebuild and expand a fire-ravaged Braintree school has been nominated for a prestigious regional award.
The rebuild of John Ray Infant School following a fire in 2013 has been shortlisted in the Infrastructure category of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) East of England Awards 2016.
The project, funded by Essex County Council and insurance loss adjusters, saw the school completely rebuilt and expanded to increase its capacity from 260 pupils to about 360.
It now boasts a large hall, ICT suite and library, and is the first two-storey infant school in Essex.
The school re-opened last September, with works to expand neighbouring John Ray Junior School also completed ready for the start of the academic year.
The project contract was managed by Pick Everard, overseen by Essex County Council, and its delivery managed by Morgan Sindall Construction.
John Ray Junior School and nearby Notley High School both gave up land to house the infant school while building works were completed.
The project team also worked closely with Braintree College to give students on-site experience, with more than 20 apprentice bricklayers involved in construction of the school and some given employment.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “A lot of hard work went into this project and I am delighted to see it has been shortlisted for such a well-respected award.
“Staff, neighbouring schools and the local community really pulled together in the aftermath of the fire and having the new school building open within two years, despite the difficult circumstances, was a fantastic achievement.”
He added: “We successfully created 3,150 new school places for the 2015/16 academic year, including those at John Ray, and remain committed to ensuring Essex has the places needed to meet demand.
“We plan to spend about £360million over the next three years on creating thousands more school places, including more than £80million on delivering new special school places.”
Sandra Way, Headteacher at John Ray Infant School, said: “We are all delighted with our new school. The children, their families and the staff all appreciate having such a high quality learning environment.
“We would like to thank all the people who have helped us over the past two years, especially our local community and our parents. Their support and encouragement has meant a great deal to us.”
The school will be visited by judges next month, with the winner being announced at the RICS East of England Awards ceremony in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday, 11 May 2016. Winners will be entered into the national RICS Awards later this year.